Who’s behind Beyond The Big 5?

I’m Jim Dean, blogger at YA Yeah Yeah, former YA Book Prize judge and former blogger for children’s bookshop Tales On Moon Lane. I’m relatively new to the US as of Jan 2021. I have a pretty good knowledge of YA in the UK and the US, in particular. Additionally, I have a ton of incredibly well-read contacts, and want to boost smaller publishers.

What do you mean by smaller publishers?

Good question! You should read the mission statement for a fuller answer. In brief, I mean books by independent publishers outside the big 5. There’ll generally be a focus on publishers who aren’t part of big corporations or well-known international publishers.

I saw THIS BOOK here, which is by a huge publisher! Why’s it here?

There are two potential reasons. Firstly, it may be published by one of the big 5 in the UK, but an independent publisher in the US, or vice versa. Secondly, it could be published by one of the bigger publishers outside the top 5, but there’s a particular reason it’s something we want to signal-boost. (An example here would be if the author is a marginalized author. Another could be that it has excellent rep of an identity which doesn’t have much rep. A third could be if it’s a book which has been out a while with little publicity. There are other potential reasons; books from non-big 5 publishers will be considered individually.)

We’re not all that likely to feature these books in standalone posts, preferring to stick to smaller publishers, but they’ll still be included in lists at times.

Can I send you my book to review?

Sorry, no. There won’t be any book reviews on the site. 10 years of blogging have taught me what I’m best at. In general I’m very good at creating lists of book recommendations, arranging author features, and connecting people with books I think they’ll love. I’ll be briefly reviewing on Amazon and Goodreads, but there are other bloggers I think are better reviewers out there. I will also be loud about books I love on Twitter. For more in-depth analysis, on Twitter, I signal-boost reviews I think are valuable, if you need help finding them!

Okay, can I send you my book to read in the hope you’ll consider it for recommendations etc?

Probably! Please bear the following in mind. Firstly, if you’re only published by a big 5 publisher, then I’ll pass, as it doesn’t fit in with the site’s mission statement. On the other end of the scale, if a vanity publisher publishes you (as in, you paid them to publish you) then I’m also going to pass, sorry; I firmly believe money in publishing should flow to the author and don’t want to boost publishers who work differently from this.

If you’re with a publisher outside the big 5, who isn’t a vanity publisher, I’d definitely be interested in hearing about your book, though. I’m only currently accepting e-books. I’d also generally prefer to deal with publicists rather than authors directly if you have a publicist. This is simply because it can cause confusion if your publicist is working on setting things up and you’re doing things they’re not aware of. (Obviously, if you don’t have a publicist, this doesn’t apply so you’re welcome to contact me directly!)

You or your publicist, as appropriate, can reach me via e-mail at beyondthebig5@gmail.com. Please do reach out to me first rather than just e-mailing me the book, though. Also, please bear in mind that accepting a book to read does not guarantee it will be included on the site.

I paid my publisher to publish me, but they’re not a vanity publisher – I know, because they told me! Am I okay to be included?

A lot of vanity publishers claim they’re not vanity publishers. I’m generally looking at sites like Absolute Write and Writer Beware to find out a little about publishers, as well as the publisher’s own website, if I’m unsure. (Looking at a publisher’s website, I try to figure out who it’s mainly aimed at. If it’s focused more on attracting authors than selling books they’ve already published, I see it as a red flag.) On a related note, if you’re paying a publisher thousands of dollars to publish your book, it may not be the best investment of your money. It could work out cheaper to hire people to help you self-publish. I would highly recommend Absolute Write’s self-publishing forum to anyone interested in doing this.

There’s a small press book or self-published book I love which would be perfect for one of your lists, but isn’t on there. What can I do to change that?

Tell me about it! You can drop me an e-mail at beyondthebig5@gmail.com or tweet me at @beyondthebig5. (I do have other social media, but Twitter is the one I use most.) 

However, the lists aren’t intended to be complete lists of every YA book ever published by an independent publisher. In general, they’re books which I’ve read myself and liked, or which several people who I trust liked. (The last few words there are important. I’m less impressed by a book with 20 great reviews from people I don’t know, than one with 2 or 3 great reviews from people who I think are really knowledgeable about YA books.) So I’d love to hear from you, but I can’t guarantee it will definitely get a book added to the site.

Can I buy advertising on your site?

You almost certainly can! Click through to my advertising and sponsorship page for details of opportunities. In brief, though, I’m very happy to sell advertising space, or to allow people to sponsor posts. That said, adverts should be in some way related to YA books, or things that YA readers would be likely to be interested in.

Your other site is called YA Yeah Yeah, but you include MG fiction and adult fiction there. Will we see them here?

No, you won’t. I love MG and adult books, but for the moment, at least, this is tightly-focused on YA. If we did expand to cover more books, MG would be the natural next step, but that’s unlikely to happen for at least a year or more.